Sepsis is a 'ninja disease', researchers say

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Efforts to prevent sepsis need to be enhanced, according to researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham who published a study this month in Lancet Infectious Diseases.

"This paper draws attention to the very real risks of sepsis and its impacts upon the health of the community," said Henry Wang, MD, the study's senior author and a professor in the UAB Department of Emergency Medicine, in a UAB release. "Sepsis is a 'ninja' disease — it quietly sneaks up on unsuspecting victims and rapidly causes overwhelming illness and death. It's one of the biggest draws on national healthcare resources."

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In the study, UAB researchers analyzed the effectiveness of three methods for characterizing sepsis — systemic inflammatory response syndrome, elevated sepsis-related organ failure assessment score (known as SOFA) and an elevated quick SOFA score (known as qSOFA).

They determined that the two newer classifications — SOFA and qSOFA — are "more predictive of serious outcomes in patients with infection," according to the UAB release.

"These findings support the use of SOFA and qSOFA as screening tools, as our results indicate that these classifications are able to identify which patients with infection are at high risk of death," Dr. Wang said. "We have also demonstrated that, in addition to serving as an in-hospital screening tool, the revised classifications may also be useful for characterizing and identifying patients with infection at increased risk of poor outcomes after discharge."

More articles on sepsis:
Genetic biomarker may predict death in sepsis patients, study finds
Common pain relief drugs could be used to treat sepsis, study finds
FDA approves new sepsis diagnostic tool

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